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Hardcover | Out of Print | 248 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 1 figure, 2 tables | March 2011 | ISBN: 9780262015004
eBook | $21.00 Short | March 2011 | ISBN: 9780262296281
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Interfaces on Trial 2.0

Foreword by Ed Black


We live in an interoperable world. Computer hardware and software products from different manufacturers can exchange data within local networks and around the world using the Internet. The competition enabled by this compatibility between devices has led to fast-paced innovation and prices low enough to allow ordinary users to command extraordinary computing capacity.

In Interfaces on Trial 2.0, Jonathan Band and Masanobu Katoh investigate an often overlooked factor in the development of today’s interoperabilty: the evolution of copyright law. Because software is copyrightable, copyright law determines the rules for competition in the information technology industry. This book—a follow-up to Band and Katoh’s successful 1995 book Interfaces on Trial—examines the debates surrounding the use of copyright law to prevent competition and interoperability in the global software industry in the last fifteen years.

Band and Katoh are longtime advocates for interoperable devices but present a reasoned view of contentious issues related to interoperability issues in the United States, the European Union, and the Pacific Rim. They discuss such topics as the protectability of interface specifications, the permissibility of reverse engineering (and legislative and executive endorsement of pro-interoperability case law), the interoperability exception to the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the interoperability cases decided under it, the enforceability of contractural restrictions on reverse engineering; and recent legal developments affecting the future of interoperability, including those related to open source-software and software patents.

About the Authors

Jonathan Band is an attorney who has written more than 100 articles on intellectual property and the Internet. He is an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s Law Center.

Masanobu Katoh is the former head of the Law and Intellectual Property Unit of Fujitsu Limited, a global information technology company based in Japan.

Table of Contents

  • Interfaces on Trial 2.0
  • The Information Society Series
  • Laura DeNardis and Michael Zimmer, series editors
  • Jonathan Band and Masanobu Katoh
  • ,
  • Interfaces on Trial 2.0

  • Interfaces on Trial 2.0

  • Jonathan Band and Masanobu Katoh

  • The MIT Press
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • London, England

  • © 2011
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • . All rights reserved. Subject to the exception immediately following, this book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, including the illustrations, in any form (beyond that copying permitted by Sections 107 and 108 of the U.S. Copyright Law and except by reviewers for the public press), without permission from the publishers. An online version of this work is available under a Creative Commons Attribution—Noncommercial—No Derivatives Works 3.0 Unported License. It can be accessed at

  • For information about quantity discounts, email

  • Set in Stone Sans and Stone Serif by the MIT Press. Printed and bound in the United States of America.

  • Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  • Band, Jonathan.
Interfaces on trial 2.0 / Jonathan Band and Masanobu Katoh.
 p. cm.— (Information society series)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-262-01500-4 (hardcover : alk. paper)
1. Copyright—Computer programs. 2. Computer software industry­—Law and legislation. I. Katoh, Masanobu. II. Title.
K1443.C6B363 2011

  • 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

  • to David Louis Band
  • Contents
  • Foreword by Ed Black
  •  ix

  • Acknowledgments
  •  xi

  • 1 The Interoperability Debate
  •  1

  • 2 Copyright Cases in U.S. Courts
  •  21

  • 3 Interoperability under the DMCA
  •  73

  • 4 Contractual Limitations on Reverse Engineering
  •  121

  • 5 Interoperability Overseas
  •  135

  • 6 The Road Ahead
  •  183

  • Statutory Appendix
  •  205

  • Index
  •  229


“A very valuable contribution to the literature on interoperability, this book is a one-stop-shop for those who want to have a comprehensive view of the legal debate, its current state, and how it got there. As this issue continues to be of great practical as well as theoretical importance, the book will serve as a resource for the many lawyers, software engineers, and managers who need to know the state of the interoperability landscape.”
Pamela Samuelson, Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of Information Management, University of California, Berkeley; Director, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology
Interfaces on Trial 2.0 provides informed inside accounts of many intellectual-property policy developments that simply are not accessible anywhere else. In passage after passage, the authors succeed in making difficult, technical, or abstract concepts clear and concrete. The book represents a model for engaged scholarship in this relatively new area of specialization, and should be of great interest not only to specialists but also to general readers interested in the future of technology policy.”
Peter Jaszi, Professor of Law and Director of the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic, American University